How Do You Introduce Letters and Sounds?

Happy Saturday TBA peeps! Who doesn't love the what I would like to know!? Well, this chica most definitely does. Today I am going to share how I introduce each letter at the beginning of each school year.

My school district uses Scott Foresman "Reading Street" for our Reading/Language Arts curriculum. There are definitely favorite parts and not so favorite parts. One of the things that I love about it is there is a brief introduction of each letter right at the beginning of the year. As with any program, you have to "tweek" it to fit the needs of your students. I like the fact that we introduce one letter each day. However, I felt like we weren't doing enough.  My teammates and sat down and talked about what it was that we wanted the kids to know. We want them to recognize and name the letters (upper and lower) and produce the sound. We use their names to go through the "Letter Land Party." By the time we introduce all 26 letters/sounds, most of the kinders are recognizing everyone's name!

We know that kids can remember songs and actions to songs that we haven't done for months, or even weeks! Why not use this to help them learn letters and sounds!? Our first step of action was to associate a letter/beginning sound with a picture. Once we came up with a picture/symbol for each letter, then we were ready to begin! I will walk you through our "Letter Land Party" using the letter Hh!

Before you begin, you need to write each student's first name on a sentence strip. I use different colors for the boys and girls. Divide your pocket chart in half with a piece of bulletin board border.  I place all of the names in a large pocket chart. You want the pocket chart at your whole group or gathering place. I know that I said I was using the letter Hh today, but I accidentally snapped a picture of the pocket chart/names using the letter Aa :-)
I make each student a "Letter Land Alphabet Book." I run the cover on cardstock. You can let them decorate the cover!

Now you are ready to begin! First, I introduce the large letter poster that I hang about our board. We talk about what the upper case and lower case letters look like. We name the picture "heart." I say the word and emphasize the beginning sounds /h/. I have the kids make the sound with me. This is their favorite, we get to make up an action to go with heart. They usually come up with pretty appropriate actions, but if they are struggling, then I may suggest something. So, this is what it looks like: I say "H   h" (pointing to each letter), /h/ (doing the action), "heart" (pointing to the heart). I add this poster to alphabet line above the board.
Now, I place the small cards at the top of the pocket chart. We begin to go through each child's name card. If they have the letter in their name, then they go to the top of the chart, above the border. We talk about if their letter is an UC or LC letter. If it is an UC they get to be King or Queen for the day. If they do not, then they go to the bottom.

If they have the letter in their name they take their card back to their seat. You can have them circle and color it, trace around it, or even use a small sticker to place under the letter.

Now we complete the letter Hh page in our "Letter Land Alphabet Book." This first round (more to come on the second round later) is merely an introduction of the letters and the sounds. I just want them to be able to recognize the letter.They simply trace the UC and LC letter, color the heart and circle the letters in each row.
We then come back to the gathering place! We go through all of the letters/sounds/actions that we have done so far! You can do so many things with the names in the pocket chart! Ask questions like: were there more students with or without the letter in their name? How many had a LC h? How many had an UC H? Did more boys or girls have the letter in their name?

Whew!! Are you still with me?! LOL! Super long post! Maybe I should have just taken a video! YIKES! :-) Hold tight...almost done!

We do this with every letter. This is what we call round one. We then begin round 2 with their last names. The only difference is, the "Letter Land Alphabet Book" is a bit different. Now, that each letter has been introduced, we spend more time on handwriting. This is what the page looks like that I use. I also have them draw a picture of something else that begins with the /h/ sound. I encourage them to try and label it also.

I have created a FREEBIE for you. This is our ABC chart that I use for small groups; I put it in each of my stations; Also, in the kids' writing office! Head on over to my blog to grab your copy!!

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